Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

John F Thorson

  • Rank: Private First Class
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Company G, 17th Infantry,
    7th Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: October 28, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Dagami, Leyte, Philippine Islands
He was an automatic rifleman on 28 October 1944, in the attack on Dagami, Leyte, Philippine Islands. A heavily fortified enemy position consisting of pillboxes and supporting trenches held up the advance of his company. His platoon was ordered to outflank and neutralize the strongpoint. Voluntarily moving well out in front of his group, Pvt. Thorson came upon an enemy fire trench defended by several hostile riflemen and, disregarding the intense fire directed at him, attacked singlehandedly. He was seriously wounded and fell about six yards from the trench. Just as the remaining 20 members of the platoon reached him, one of the enemy threw a grenade into their midst. Shouting a warning and making a final effort, Pvt. Thorson rolled onto the grenade and smothered the explosion with his body. He was instantly killed, but his magnificent courage and supreme self-sacrifice prevented the injury and possible death of his comrades and remain with them as a lasting inspiration.
Medal of Honor Recipient John F. Thorson
Medal of Honor Recipient John F. Thorson
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Armstrong, Emmet County, Iowa
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: September 16, 1945
    Fort Omaha,Nebraska by Brig. General Paul X. English to his father, John F. Thorson, Sr.
  • Born: May 10, 1920, Armstrong, Emmet County, IA, United States
  • Died: October 29, 1944, Leyte, Philippine Islands
  • Buried: Keokuk National Cemetery (MH) (D-71), Keokuk, IA, United States

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